Pickles Ogden banged the gavel to call the meeting to order. They were to draw up an agreement of sorts between the businesses. No undercutting of each other's prices, a ceasing of personal hostilities and a gentleman's agreement to ease the flow of trade between them, rather than aim for a separatist cut throat competition.
The first problem, however, was what they should be called. They couldn't be a guild, for they were not in the same line of commerce and an association smacked of something more social than might be achievable, given their history.
Seated around a long table in the one time apprentices hall, which had ecclesiastical looking lancet windows in dark stained glass that occluded rather than reflected light, they were sombrely self important. "Then", came a suggestion, "shall we be a Board of Trade?"
This met with approval, sounding rather grand. The sets of suited whiskers, paunch filled waistcoats and hollow cheeks above high collars, agreed that a deed of principle should be drawn up, toasted to as an act of faith and adhered to for the future.
When completed, the document was beautifully done, scroll scripted with their names in inks of red, gold, royal blue and emerald green, with a crest at the top especially designed for them. An heraldic looking creation, including a vaguely masonic sounding promise to be loyal to agreed tenets, it was solemnly launched among the merchants at their next gathering.
Over the years, they kept to it and prospered, their wealthy legacies passed down the line in time, until the final possessor of the framed scroll, finding it old fashioned, a pointless clutter, gave it away in a job lot house clearance, among other residues.
Having found its way to a charity shop, it was bought as an interesting item of bric-a-brac and hung on a hallway wall, its origins pondered over, what it represented and who the people were who wrote it. Pickles Ogden and his fellows had long lain beneath respectful tombstones, their business status remaining only in ornate stone carvings around various doorways into later worlds. But now and again, at a certain time of year, there were rapping sounds in the hallway, as a long over meeting was once more called to order.